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Inexperienced U.S. team stumbles in qualifying

Sun., Oct. 15, 2006

Halfway through his routine, America’s best gymnast on the still rings was in such bad shape, his coach had to run onto the podium to catch him in case he fell.

Indeed, Kevin Tan finished the set on his backside.

It got even worse from there for the U.S. men, who put in an error-filled effort during qualifying at the world gymnastics championships Saturday in Aarhus, Denmark, that left the rebuilding team out of the finals.

It was quite a comedown for a team that won the silver medal two years ago at the Athens Olympics. Not a single gymnast from that team – headlined by Paul and Morgan Hamm – is on the 2006 squad.


Blake reaches finals

Defending champion James Blake edged Robin Soderling to reach the Stockholm Open final in Stockholm, Sweden.

The second-seeded American will play Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in today’s final at the Royal Tennis Hall.

•Top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko defeated Fabrice Santoro, in Moscow, and will play Marat Safin, who beat Igor Kunitsyn to advance to his first final.

Nadia Petrova will play Anna Chakvetadze on the women’s side.

•Ivan Ljubicic will play Fernando Gonzalez in the final of the BA-CA Tennis Trophy in Vienna, Austria.

Ljubicic cruised past Dominik Hrbaty, and Gonzalez upset third-seeded Andy Roddick 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in the semifinals.


Kessler remains unbeaten

Unbeaten Mikkel Kessler added the WBC super middleweight belt to his WBA title, stopping Markus Beyer in the third round in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The 27-year-old Dane dropped the German with a left-right combination 2 minutes into the third round, and the referee counted out Beyer as he sat on the canvas.

•Joe Calzaghe survived a cut in the fourth round in Manchester, England, to capture a unanimous decision over Sakio Bika and keep his IBF and WBO super middleweight titles.

Horse Racing

Scat Daddy has big race

Trainer Todd Pletcher set the record for stakes victories in a single year – 93 – and Scat Daddy earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a win in the $400,000 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in New York.

•Vacare took the lead in the stretch and won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup by a half-length at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., to remain unbeaten in four career starts.

•Due moved to the front on the far turn and pulled away to win the $250,000 Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park.

Auto racing

Schumacher raises the bar

Tony Schumacher broke his Top Fuel qualifying record, topping the field in the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals in Dinwidie, Va., for his 12th No. 1 qualifying effort of the year. Schumacher broke his record of 11 set in 2005.


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